10 May 2022

Michael O'Connell pleads not guilty to murdering Danielle Jordan: 'She's the love of me life'

| Albert McKnight
ACT Law Courts

Michael O’Connell, 42, has pleaded not guilty to a charge of murder. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

A man accused of killing his partner could be heard breaking down in tears when his charge was upgraded from manslaughter to murder, proclaiming through sobs, “she’s the love of me life”.

Danielle Patricia Jordan, also known as Danielle Fleming, was allegedly seen lying in a pool of blood after 42-year-old Michael O’Connell drove off while she was sitting on the bonnet of his car on Easter Friday.

On Tuesday (10 May), Mr O’Connell was charged with murdering his 40-year-old partner by Magistrate James Stewart. He pleaded not guilty straight away.

“Not guilty, your honour. Absolutely not guilty because she’s the love of me life,” he said.

Appearing over the phone in the ACT Magistrates Court, he later broke down into sobbing, with his words becoming incomprehensible.

“She’s the love of me life and I just loved her so much,” he said.

ACT Director of Public Prosecutions Shane Drumgold SC withdrew charges of manslaughter, perverting the course of justice and culpable driving. Magistrate Stewart remanded Mr O’Connell in custody to next appear in court for a forensic procedure application on Thursday (12 May), then a mention on 5 July.

Facts originally tendered to the court before the murder charge was laid allege Mr O’Connell got into an argument with Ms Jordan at a home in Melba early in the morning of 15 April 2022.

The couple went outside and Mr O’Connell allegedly got into the driver’s seat of a Mitsubishi Triton parked in the driveway while Ms Jordan sat on its bonnet.

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He allegedly started driving off while she was still sitting on the car despite a friend of hers, who had also been at the home, walking in front of it to make him stop.

Ms Jordan allegedly held onto the bonnet as he drove off, accelerating out of the friend’s sight.

“A short time later, [the friend] heard a loud screech of tyres, then a loud thump, which she later described as ‘sounding like something heavy, like a body, hitting the road’,” police allege in the documents.

She ran towards the noise and allegedly saw Ms Jordan lying on the ground in a pool of blood, near the intersection of Alfred Hill Drive and Cade Place, with the Triton stopped nearby.

The friend said Mr O’Connell picked his girlfriend up, with blood covering them both, and put her into his car, then she told him to go to hospital.

Closed-circuit television captured him arriving at Calvary Public Hospital in Bruce at about 4:50 am and carrying her inside. He allegedly sent a text to the friend’s mother shortly after.

“Just letting you know that Danielle is in hospital she fell from the top of her back steps,” he allegedly said.

He then returned to the home in Melba where he allegedly asked the friend to tell police Ms Jordan had fallen down the back steps, if they asked.

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After police arrested him, he told them he “saved her”.

“She fell down the stairs, so I took her to hospital,” he told them.

Police inspected the back stairs at the Melba home and couldn’t find any blood.

However, they allege they found blood on the Triton’s nudge bar and damage to its bonnet.

Mr O’Connell later told police that Ms Jordan had jumped onto the canvas-covered tray of the Triton when the car had stopped, then she fell off onto the road, injuring her head. He denied driving while she was on the bonnet.

He also said to police that he had told people she fell down stairs to protect her reputation.

Police allege he had driven with her on the bonnet for at least 270 metres. They said she died overnight while in hospital.

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